Australian advertisers are damaging their brands on radio and television by using cliché voice overs and failing to create and maintain a distinctive audio brand voice, this year’s Cannes Radio Lions jury president has warned.
Ralph van Dijk, founder of Sydney-based audio advertising specialist agency Eardrum who has been named chair of the Radio Lions for the 60th anniversary of the world’s preeminent advertising awards, said while agencies invest significant time and money into the visual component of television advertising the voices used to accompany them are often an afterthought and badly done.
Considered a world authority on radio advertising, van Dijk is launching Australia’s first specialist voice casting service, in order to expand the range of voices currently heard in radio and TV advertising and help advertisers adopt a more consistent brand-voice approach.
The division of Eardrum called Earcasting will scout Australia and internationally for fresh and distinctive voices and then advise agencies and clients on the best options for brands.
“Most brands will have extensive guidelines dictating how their visual brand is to be used, but most haven’t given any thought to how their brand sounds. We can find a voice that we believe is unique to a brand in the same way as their brand has a visual identity,” van Dijk said.
Advertisers and agencies are also too quick to change voices in their advertising, leading to confusion among listeners and viewers, van Dijk says, adding that once a brand has an established voice it should be applied across all audio touch points of the brand including websites, telephone recorded messages and in-store.
“Many companies have several audio touch points but use different voices for each one. They would never dream of doing that with their visual brand identity so why should it be any different with their brand sound?”
TV advertising in particular needs to improve consistency in voice branding, according to van Dijk. “Agencies spend tens of thousands of dollars and many hours working on the visual aspect of making an ad, but they will spend half an hour in the studio recording the voice track that took them 20 minutes to cast. At the very least they’re missing a trick and potentially damaging the brand.”
Van Dijk has been named alongside some of the advertising industry’s biggest names including David Droga, BBH founder Sir John Hegarty, Wieden + Kennedy’s Dan Wieden and R/GA’s Bob Greenberg as president of a Cannes Lions Jury in 2013 as the festival of international creativity celebrates its 60th year.
On being appointed to head the Radio Lions, van Dijk said: “It’s a great honour to chair the Radio Lions in such an auspicious year for the festival and alongside some of the most famous names in the business. Radio is such a powerful and effective medium for advertising and I’m looking forward to hearing the best examples of audio production and innovation from across the world.”